State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines has disbursed P2.2 billion in loans to 13,701 rice farmers and cooperatives as of July 31, 2023, under the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance program of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
More than a third of the beneficiaries, totaling 4,783, come from Region 2, specifically from the provinces of Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino.
Out of Land Bank’s loan disbursements under the ERCA-RCEF, P1.1 billion financed the palay production of farmers listed in the Department of Agriculture’s Registry System, and P507.5 million supported cooperatives in relending to their member farmers. An additional P394.1 million was allocated for rice traders and millers, while P222 million was earmarked for the purchase of farm machinery and equipment.
The ERCA-RCEF is a credit facility designed to enhance the productivity and income of small rice farmers and cooperatives, mitigating the initial impact of the Rice Tariffication Law. Rice farmers can borrow up to 90% of their total project cost from the ERCA-RCEF at a low fixed interest rate of 2% per year.
Land Bank President and CEO Lynette V. Ortiz stated, “Land Bank is contributing to the strengthening of local rice production by providing accessible and responsive financial assistance to our rice farmers.”
While Land Bank has fully disbursed the allocated fund for ERCA-RCEF from 2019 to 2022, it will continue to make P500 million in loans available annually to cooperatives and registered farmers until 2024.